Ugx 6 Billion Probe Lists President On Witness List
President Yoweri Museveni is among a list of witnesses to be invited by Parliament’s committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) in regard to a probe on a Ugx 6 billion bonus payment to 42 government officers.
The committee, which kicked off its investigations into the payments to the officers after winning a tax oil case in London, wants President Museveni to give information on his role in the payment of the money.
President Yoweri Museveni, following consultations with the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Commissioner General Doris Akol, agreed in 2015 to pay Ugx 6 billion to the officials involved in the case, money which was paid out in August last year.
According to the committee chairman, Abdu Katuntu, apart from President Museveni, 18 other individuals will be summoned before the committee to testify in regard to the rewards, now termed as the presidential handshake.
Those summoned to appear before the committee includes Akol, Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) Executive Director Allen Kagina; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Keith Muhakanizi; Inspector General of Government, Irene Mulyagonja; Head of the Tax Appeals Tribunal and Uganda Law Society.
Others are Solicitor General, Francis Atoke; Accountant General Henry Ssemakula; Attorney General William Byaruhanga; Auditor General John Muwanga; Governnor Bank of Uganda, Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile and the tax assessors who handled the rewards, among others.
Members of the public with information on the rewards will be accorded two days to appear before the probe committee.
The committee is expected to investigate the basis of determination of the beneficiaries to the bonus payments, including a full account of the role of each beneficiary in the court cases.
It will also examine whether all the proper and legal procedures under the laws of Uganda were followed in making the alleged payments and also scrutinize all the supplementary requests and other budget allocations provided to public officers for facilitating the case in London.
The mover of the motion which prompted the probe, Mbarara Municipality MP, Michael Tusiime appeared before the committee on January 24, 2017, and stated that the action of Akol to solicit to be designated as the accounting officer was contrary to the Public Finance Management Act 2015.
Tusiime, while making a case for the probe, further questioned the manner in which the payments were made without following proper procedures.
“The payments are not in line with the applicable government guidelines on the making of similar rewards such as the payment of honorarium and the making of other rewards as prescribed under the Public Service Standing Order, 2010 of government,” Tusiime stated in his presentation.
The MP said Parliament should interrogate what the ordinary duties of the recipients of the rewards are and what they did that went beyond their ordinary duties.
Tusiime also presented a list of 35 beneficiaries of the presidential handshake, contrary to earlier reports that the beneficiaries were 42.